Decreationism and (eco)socialism, related or conflicting perspectives?
In this article we present a look at the decretionist proposals as a response to the environmental disasters produced by capitalism, and we question their proposals from a revolutionary ecosocialist perspective.
*Esteban Mercatante originally published in
The environmental disasters in multiple dimensions that capitalism has been producing, whose effects have been increasingly devastating, have given a –necessary– sense of urgency to the discussions on how to deal with it. The routine of international meetings in which state representatives perform performances in which they show concern, to later make cosmetic commitments regarding the level of emergency –especially regarding carbon emissions, but the same goes for many other planes–; the green facelift carried out by numerous firms with campaigns that serve above all –and sometimes solely– as marketing to stimulate sales growth, and the denial of climate change that prevails in sectors linked to the extreme right (such as Trumpism in the US .us or Javier Milei in Argentina), acted as a battering ram for the discussion of alternatives that intend to be more disruptive. Among them is the decretionist approach, which states that it is necessary to urgently and voluntarily de-escalate production and consumption, through profound changes in the way in which these processes are carried out. De-escalation, basically in rich countries, is the only way to reduce gas emissions, but also the effects that the extraction of resources has on ecosystems, which today easily exceeds the capacity of nature to replenish them. The discussion of decretionism is not new. Its antecedents go back at least as far as Among them is the decretionist approach, which states that it is necessary to urgently and voluntarily de-escalate production and consumption, through profound changes in the way in which these processes are carried out. De-escalation, basically in rich countries, is the only way to reduce gas emissions, but also the effects that the extraction of resources has on ecosystems, which today easily exceeds the capacity of nature to replenish them. The discussion of decretionism is not new. Its antecedents go back at least as far as Among them is the decretionist approach, which states that it is necessary to urgently and voluntarily de-escalate production and consumption, through profound changes in the way in which these processes are carried out. De-escalation, basically in rich countries, is the only way to reduce gas emissions, but also the effects that the extraction of resources has on ecosystems, which today easily exceeds the capacity of nature to replenish them. The discussion of decretionism is not new. Its antecedents go back at least as far as It is the only way to reduce the emission of gases, but also the effects that the extraction of resources has on ecosystems, which today easily exceeds the capacity of nature to replenish them. The discussion of decretionism is not new. Its antecedents go back at least as far as It is the only way to reduce the emission of gases, but also the effects that the extraction of resources has on ecosystems, which today easily exceeds the capacity of nature to replenish them. The discussion of decretionism is not new. Its antecedents go back at least as far as The law of entropy and the economic process of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, 1970-71. André Gorz in the 1980s openly raised the need for the economy of the rich, imperialist countries to decrease, in order to recover a sustainable path. Wolfgang Harich also spoke in the 1970s of a perspective of “communism without growth” that he necessarily associated with an authoritarian regime, the latter notion with which Manuel Sacristán argued (without rejecting the latter the idea that a communist regime should be decreaserist, but without ever giving up the possibility of a perspective of “direct radical democratism”) [ 1 ] .
But it was, especially in the last two decades, thanks to the contributions of authors such as Serge Latouche and in light of the resurgence of ecological emergency signals, that this perspective gained ground.
In developed countries, almost exclusively responsible for the greatest environmental disorders, beginning with the emission of gases accumulated in two hundred years of capitalist accumulation, decrecionism has become a view of great consensus in activist and academic sectors linked to ecological problems from different perspectives. critics –that is, among those who do not subscribe to the notion that a “green capitalism” can be viable, with its solutions for environmental problems tailored to the maintenance of profit and the accumulation of capital–.
Growth as an ideology
The main target of decretionism, as its name implies, is economic growth. The GDP as an economic indicator loaded with ideology is a starting point for almost all the treaties that are located in this current. We find an important space dedicated to revealing the selective construction that produced this index, which identifies “the economy” with market production and other spheres such as services provided by the public sector, while leaving out others –such as domestic work–. At the same time, the idea that continued economic growth, measured in terms of an ever-increasing Gross Domestic Product, is necessarily associated with an improvement in well-being is deconstructed. For starters, as Jason Hickel reminds us in the book whose book Less is more. How degrowth will save the world , recently edited in Spanish by Capitán Swing, for most of the history of capitalism, “growth did not bring improvements in well-being in the lives of ordinary people; in fact, he did the complete opposite” [ 2 ] . The “primitive accumulation”, which Karl Marx addresses in Chapter XXIV of Capital to remind us that capitalism came into the world “dripping blood and mud, from every pore, from head to foot” [ 3 ], with its “liberation” of the peasantry, which ceased to have direct means for its reproduction, created the bases to be able to impose long working hours on the labor force, first in England and then in the rest of Europe. Overcrowding in cities and unhealthy work contributed to an increase in mortality and a reduction in life expectancy. This same “original accumulation” was presupposed by colonialism, which devastated populations in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. The “correlation” between growth and well-being can only be observed since the mid-nineteenth century in Europe, and later in other geographies. But, even then, the improvement in many indicators such as the reduction in mortality from diseases, infant mortality, and the increase in life expectancy, [ 4 ] . However, the main argument is that, after a certain threshold of GDP per capita, this correlation is dissociated, and there may even be cases in which “more is less”. Hickel argues that “the relationship between GDP and human well-being unfolds in a saturation curve, with steeply diminishing returns: after a certain point, which high-income nations have long since passed, more GDP adds little or nothing to human flourishing.” ” [ 5 ] .
The “poverty” in terms of GDP -which was magnified by the limited development of the commercial sphere that could be measured with this indicator but was more debatable with other more qualitative measures of the satisfaction of needs- aimed to be “remedied” through the impulse of the “necessary” measures to start the path of “development” under the guidelines of international agencies, which were nothing more than policies of dispossession that opened the way to capitalist accumulation. Accumulation which, under the conditions of dependency, produced anything but development in almost all cases and which, breaking through through the disarticulation of pre-existing, non-capitalist forms of social reproduction, produced a large-scale increase in poverty in these societies.
Why does decrecionism take criticism of the goal of perpetual GDP growth as its starting point? Basically because, as several authors of this current affirm, this objective –linked to another concept with even more positive connotations, that of “development”– is the one that has ordered all the tools of economic policy at least since the first decades of the 20th century.
The aforementioned Jason Hickel is more specific: the problem is not growth itself, but the ideology of growth, “the pursuit of growth for its own sake, or for the sake of capital accumulation, rather than to satisfy human needs.” concrete and social objectives” [ 6 ] . This drive is inscribed in the basic logic of the functioning of the capitalist system, in which “money becomes profit that becomes more money that becomes more profit […] For capitalists, profit is not just money at end of the day, which will be used to satisfy some specific need: the profit is converted into capital. And the whole point of capital is that it must be reinvested to produce more capital. This process never ends” [ 7 ] . This author stands out for stating more clearly than other decreasers the need for an anti-capitalist horizon, and he clearly considers that growth is an inevitable impulse of this system, and therefore that to decrease the economy it is necessary to go beyond capitalism. However, he agrees with the current to focus on attacking the compulsion to grow as a central issue.
And this goal of maintaining non-stop GDP growth is literally devouring the planet.
GDP per capita and material footprint
GDP growth does not occur in a vacuum; all social production is a material process. The infinite growth of GDP also means an endless increase in the use of materials, appropriated from nature, and in the generation of waste. There is no shortage of reasons then to suggest that the hypertrophy of the capitalist production apparatuses of the imperialist countries, oriented towards a perpetual increased accumulation of value that is achieved through processes of material production that necessarily occur on a scale increased, it reached unsustainable levels in relation to the biophysical limits of the planet. A large-scale reorganization of production in these economies, to reorient it towards the sustainable satisfaction of social needs hand in hand with a reduction in the working day, will inevitably have to go through the de-escalation of numerous branches of production –an issue that With the development of global value chains, it implies reorganizations that cross borders, which gives it another complexity.
Hickel reviews many of the indicators that illustrate the upheavals generated by this growth of material production processes, and the drastic manner in which they have been accelerated. It is worth stopping at them.
The consumption of raw materials went from 7 billion tons in 1900, to 14 billion shortly before the middle of the century. But from 1945 to today it grew to more than 100 billion tons. At the current rate, Hickel observes, we are on track to surpass 200 billion tons by 2050, when some studies estimate that what is manageable for the planet – what can be extracted without irreversibly damaging ecosystems – is equivalent to 50 billion tons. tons. That is, half of what is currently extracted. The UN estimates that 80% of global biodiversity loss is due to material extraction [ 8 ] .
Climate change, driven by emissions from fossil fuels, responds to the same mechanics. “Why are we burning so much fossil fuel in the first place? Because economic growth requires energy. Throughout the history of capitalism, growth has always caused an increase in the use of energy” [ 9 ] .
But the responsibilities for this state of affairs are clearly located geographically. The size of GDP per capita is closely associated with the consumption of raw materials per person and the overall environmental impact. The material footprint in low-income countries (their consumption of raw materials) is 2 tons per person per year. Lower-middle-income countries consume about 4 tons per person, and upper-middle-income countries about 12. High-income, developed countries consume about 28 tons per person per year, on average. Hickel observes that “a sustainable level of material footprint, expressed in per capita terms, is about 8 tons per person. High-income nations exceed that limit almost four times” [ 10] .
This excess has consequences in various dimensions. “Increasing biomass extraction means razing forests and draining wetlands. It means destroying habitats and carbon sinks. It means soil depletion, ocean dead zones, and overfishing. Increasing the extraction of fossil fuels means more carbon emissions, more climate breakdown, and more ocean acidification. It means more mountaintop removal, more offshore drilling, more fracking, and more tar sands. Increasing the extraction of minerals and building materials means more open-pit mining, with all the downstream pollution that comes with it, and more cars, ships and buildings that demand even more energy. And all this means more waste: more landfills in the countryside, [ 11 ] .
The problem with economic growth, Hickel asserts, “is not just that we run out of resources at some point,” as the 1972 Club of Rome report The Limits to Growth tended to put the issue . The problem “ it is that it progressively degrades the integrity of ecosystems” [ 12 ] . The author is supported by recent works, such as the one presented in 2009 by Johan Rockström, James Hansen and Paul Crutzen that develops the concept of “planetary limits”. The Earth’s biosphere “is an integrated system that can withstand significant pressures, but after a certain point it begins to break down” [ 13 ]. Drawing on data from Earth systems science, they identified nine potentially destabilizing processes that we need to keep in check if the system is to remain intact. These are: climate change; the loss of biodiversity; ocean acidification; changes in land use; the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles; fresh water consumption; the load of atmospheric aerosols; chemical pollution and destruction of the ozone layer. Scientists have estimated “limits” for each of these processes. For example, the concentration of atmospheric carbon should not exceed 350 ppm if the climate remains stable (we crossed that limit in 1990 and today it exceeds 415 ppm); the extinction rate should not exceed ten species per million per year; Forest land conversion should not exceed 25% of the Earth’s land area; etc. “These limits are not ‘hard’ limits, strictly speaking. Crossing them does not mean that Earth’s systems will shut down immediately. But it does mean that we are entering a danger zone where we risk triggering tipping points that could eventually lead to an irreversible collapse.” Crossing them does not mean that Earth’s systems will shut down immediately. But it does mean that we are entering a danger zone where we risk triggering tipping points that could eventually lead to an irreversible collapse.” Crossing them does not mean that Earth’s systems will shut down immediately. But it does mean that we are entering a danger zone where we risk triggering tipping points that could eventually lead to an irreversible collapse.” [ 14 ] .
The pages that Hickel dedicates to dismantling the notions that there could be a “green capitalism” are very interesting and pertinent; or, in other words, that technological solutions can be developed that can eventually make continued economic growth compatible with a balanced socio-natural metabolism. Many of these solutions focus on the problem of carbon emissions, proposing solutions that can absorb it. In fact, the idea that a technology of this type can be implemented in the not too distant term is based on the projections of the Paris agreement that, with the emission commitments made by the different countries (which do not seem to be met ) the temperature will increase “only” 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. Without a carbon absorption technology, the increase would double the level of projected emissions. The problem is that a technology of this type, even if it were really viable to absorb all the emissions (something that is neither technically nor economically proven) would require building tens of thousands of factories dedicated to it. A formidable ecological disorder.
“Green” energy, such as a matrix based on solar and wind generation, if used to sustain “green” growth, is also a guarantee of disasters. As Hickel observes, the exploitation of lithium to produce batteries “is just getting started and it’s already a catastrophe [ 15 ] .
Hickel relentlessly dismantles many of these myths, without renouncing outright the idea that certain technological developments –unencumbered by the capitalist logic that guides innovation today– should be part of the response to environmental disasters.
Beyond the capital?
It is to remedy the disturbances in the material conditions that the “compound growth” of the GDP has produced and will continue to deepen is what decrecionism aims at.
The name in which they are branded, and the –well-founded– diatribes against the ideologies that surround GDP as an exclusive indicator, could lead us to conclude that the decreaseist approach is reduced –nothing more and nothing less– than in a reduction in the size of the economy. If that were the case, the entire proposal would be reduced to placing a quantitative or “technical” aspect in the center, a means, without any link with clear aspirations for a broader social transformation. But this is not the case.
Giorgos Kallis specifies that the goal is not simply the reduction of GDP, but that this would rather be a consequence of the transformations sought. “The goal of degrowth is not to make GDP growth negative. In economic terms, degrowth refers to a trajectory in which the “output” (energy, materials, and waste streams) of an economy declines while welfare improves. The hypothesis is that diminishing returns will in all probability come with diminishing product, and that these can only be results of a social transformation in an egalitarian direction” [ 16 ] .
In all the works we find the idea that very acute changes are necessary in the forms of production and consumption. The idea of a new society is present even in the authors who are most ambivalent regarding the need to end the domination of capital. According to Latouche
Decretionism is fundamentally anti-capitalist. Not so much because it denounces the contradictions and the ecological and social limitations of capitalism as because it challenges its ‘spirit’, in the sense that Max Weber sees the “spirit of capitalism” as a precondition for its existence. Although it is possible, in the abstract, To conceive of an ecologically compatible economy with the continued existence of a capitalism of the immaterial, such a perspective is unrealistic when it comes to the imaginary foundations of a market society, namely excess and debauchery (pseudo-)domination. Generalized capitalism cannot but destroy the planet in the same way that it is destroying society and anything else that is collective [ 17 ] .
The problem is that there is no equivalence between what you want to dismantle, and what you propose to build. It is claimed that the end of a mode of production may come through the imposition of decretionism. But the latter, despite the fact that it is claimed to be much more than a negative position regarding economic growth, does not finish outlining a coherent road map to subvert the foundations of capitalism.
Kallis compares in Degrowth the proposals made by different exponents of decrecionism. Some of the main ones we found are:
• return to having a smaller ecological footprint by cutting intermediate consumption (transport, energy, packaging, advertising);
• apply taxes that burden pollution;
• put an end to planned obsolescence;
• relocate activities prioritizing the urban scale;
• revitalize peasant agriculture;
• Transform productivity gains into reduced working hours and job creation;
• encourage the “production” of relational goods, such as friendship and neighborhood
• limit the range of inequality in income distribution with a minimum income and a maximum income;
• cut energy waste by a factor of 4;
• impose penalties for spending on advertising;
• declare a moratorium on techno-scientific innovation;
• decommodify public goods and expand the commons;
• establish a debt jubilee;
• apply a global tax on financial transactions, transnational profits, a global wealth tax, a tax on carbon emissions and a tax on highly active nuclear waste;
• re-regulate international trade in order to move away from free trade, and restrict the free movement of capital;
• demote the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the IMF [ 18 ] .
There is no doubt that many of these proposals threaten the viability of capitalism. Others, not incompatible per se with the basic imperatives of this mode of production, point against some of the fundamental pillars that the ruling class conquered during the decades of offensives under neoliberal ideology. But, although it may be a set of proposals intended to generate a mobilization in favor of degrowth, they are essentially raised –and thought of– as a program of reforms to be implemented by the capitalist State, guarantor of production relations that are based on sustaining the growth of value accumulation (and material production).
This limitation is inevitable, since there is an unresolved contradiction between anti-capitalist intentions and the reluctance to openly propose a strategy that attacks the main center of gravity of capitalism: private ownership of the means of production. Latouche is explicit in questioning any notion that decretionary goals must be achieved through a generalized socialization of the means of production. On the contrary, he argues that “eliminating the capitalists, outlawing private ownership of the means of production, and abolishing the wage relation or ending money” will all do “plunge society into chaos, and it could not be done.” without using terror on a large scale” [ 19 ]. Latouche, but also Kallis, point out that the “actually existing socialism” was productivist, and they extend this to all the main currents of Marxism, including Trotskyism. There is a certain incongruity between the recognition that we find in decretionist authors that countries that do not belong to the select club of the rich have the right to invest efforts in raising living conditions, while the nickname “productivism” is attributed without distinction to thinkers Marxists who in many cases did not fight for endless growth, but for overcoming the problems of backwardness in countries that were clearly poor and with economic and social structures distorted by imperialist ballast. Having said this, it is undeniable that for the Stalinist bureaucracy in the USSR and in Eastern Europe, as well as for Maoism, productivism dominated economic planning, and the pursuit of development was accompanied by numerous preventable environmental disasters. We can also observe, even today, the existence of strong productivist impulses in currents and Marxist and socialist authors. But relying on this to close any prospect of an anti-capitalist and socialist exit, is to close the only door that could get us out of the traps of capitalism and its drive for endless growth with a view to profit.
It is a question of strategy, but also of the actors called upon to intervene to favor a decreaseist perspective. The “subject” is the citizenry, before which it is necessary to wage a battle for opinion in order to mobilize before the State, to press for decretionist measures and to modify their own consumer behaviors. Between the anti-capitalist gesture and the rejection of the socialization of the means of production, the proposal of authors such as Latouche fails to be more than a compendium of measures to set limits on capitalism, from the State, without abolishing it. A contradiction in terms, if what is touted is degrowth.
Decretionism, as we have already pointed out, is a heterogeneous group. As some of the proposals in the compendium presented above may suggest, there are those who advocate a strategy of creating spaces of autonomy, not governed by growth. This is linked to the strong emphasis on the regional/local –as opposed to the national or global–, which is also very present in Latouche.
Some decretionist approaches point to it as an individual and collective way out in an “anti-capitalist” key, whose subject is also in general in the citizenry, but especially in rural, peasant, native communities, etc. Thus, the criticism of hyperconsumerism and the commodified relations of the big cities leads to an idealization of local and rural life; and often the criticism of the devastating consequences of certain technologies becomes a general challenge to industrial and technological development (as expressed in the “moratorium” on innovation that is part of the compendium mentioned above). Latouche and many other decretionists question the association of the current with a romanticization of pre-capitalist ways of life or as a proposal for a “return” to the past.
A logic related to the one recently indicated, is the struggle to establish spaces of autonomy with respect to capitalism in the interstices of the dominant societies. We see this among those who define themselves as anarchists, libertarians (not to be confused with libertarians), autonomists, or even some ecosocialists. For Giorgos Kallis, for example, the decretionist perspective can be configured through a “counter-hegemonic” articulation of different spheres of social production and communities not governed by valorization, which can give rise to “alternative economies.”
mere microcosms or prefigurations of a shrinking world. They are incubators, where people create every day the alternative world that they would like to build, their logic made common sense. Alternative commons are new institutions of civil society that nurture new common senses. As they expand, they undo the common sense of growth and make ideas compatible with degrowth hegemonic, creating the conditions for a social and political force to change political institutions in the same direction [ 20 ] .
Even if such a transition – which broadly reproduces the one that gave rise to capitalism from feudal relations – was feasible within the frameworks of capitalism (whose expanded reproduction operates by constantly pushing to integrate and subsume all spheres where there is potential). of profitable production), implies a long transition, inconsistent with the urgency of putting the “emergency brake” on the ecological crisis that runs through all the decreaseist proposals.
We have other authors, such as the aforementioned Hickel, who place more emphasis on the proposals that aim to put sticks in the wheel of capital valorization. But even here, putting decrecionism in the foreground and leaving the ecosocialist perspective barely suggested, takes away a certain strategic coherence from the proposal.
Even in the authors who, like Hickel, outline a –diffuse– post-capitalist horizon, neither a clear roadmap to reach it nor the social actors that can motorize a transformation that goes in this direction emerges at any time. The author incorporates into a sum of proposals that includes some of those mentioned above, the need for a post-capitalist “imaginary”, and the need to organize social production and consumption “making sure to return as compensation, doing everything possible to enrich, in instead of degrading, the ecosystems on which we depend” [ 21 ]. These are very important issues, but they do not define the alliances or strategies to make this imaginary a reality. The same abyss between ambitious strategic horizon, indefinite social subjects and immediate proposals for non-transitional reforms, occurred with Saito’s decretionist communism proposal, as we have pointed out on another occasion .
On the other hand, although the authors attribute an anti-capitalist and progressive character to decretionism, its coordinates are so general that the banner of degrowth is not exempt from bastardized appropriations of some of its proposals, which in the name of ecological sustainability can embrace neo-Malthusianism. and impose socially regressive policies, seeking to “de-escalate” at the expense of the already thin consumption of the working class and the poor.
The coordinates for ecosocialism
Decretionism is not synonymous with socialism, although some decretionist ecosocialists seek to minimize the difference in perspectives due to the heterogeneity of visions among the proponents of the first perspective. Seen as an alternative, it is just a variant of the reform proposals of the existing state of affairs, although the most drastic ones –without which there is no “sustainable” roadmap– are incompatible with capitalism, and therefore unfeasible without a articulated anti-capitalist strategy, which can only be socialist.
On the other hand, the issue is not simply to downscale production processes according to biophysical limits. It is necessary to change the whole logic of production according to profit, which has other implications, such as the always implementation of the cheapest production processes even when there may be others that are more expensive but less harmful in environmental terms. This last dimension of socionatural metabolism is not clearly presupposed in the term “degrowth.” For this reason, to address all the dimensions of the ecological problem, a clear anti-capitalist and socialist perspective is necessary.
That said, the decreaseist warning about the urgency of balancing the socionatural metabolism in accordance with the biophysical limits of the planet long exceeded by capitalism, should not be taken lightly. It is necessary to fill the void of strategy and articulation of class forces that the decretionists leave unresolved, but not turn our back on their diagnosis and what this means for the post-capitalist and socialist transition today. If it is the development of the contradictions of capitalism that creates the preconditions for an overcoming alternative to develop within this society, these potentialities today are accompanied by a heavy ecological legacy that will have to be dealt with.
The fundamental objective of the decretionist proposals, which is to achieve a balanced socio-natural metabolism, which does not impose on the planet a greater extraction than the vital systems are capable of regenerating and drastically reduces the material footprint from its current levels, which seeks to mitigate the effects of the accumulated emission of carbon gases in the shortest term possible and points towards an economic order that does not have endless growth as its goal; this objective is entirely compatible and only achievable with a socialist strategy. Only if the working class, in alliance with the poor, intervenes to socialize the strategic means of production and reorganizes them prioritizing the full satisfaction of social needs within the framework of a balanced socio-natural metabolism, the objectives proposed by decrecionism can become achievable. This also implies nationalizing urban and rural land to rediscuss land uses and liquidate real estate speculation, nationalizing banks, as some of the fundamental springs to reorient social production. On this basis, in the rich imperialist countries it will be possible to discuss the drastic de-escalation of many sectors of production and impose the redistribution of wealth for which decrecionism strives, but without this “redistribution” of ownership of the means of production. It turns out to be a utopia. as some of the fundamental springs to reorient social production. On this basis, in the rich imperialist countries it will be possible to discuss the drastic de-escalation of many sectors of production and impose the redistribution of wealth for which decrecionism strives, but without this “redistribution” of ownership of the means of production. It turns out to be a utopia. as some of the fundamental springs to reorient social production. On this basis, in the rich imperialist countries it will be possible to discuss the drastic de-escalation of many sectors of production and impose the redistribution of wealth for which decrecionism strives, but without this “redistribution” of ownership of the means of production. It turns out to be a utopia.
Should socialism abandon any prospect of “material abundance”? It does not seem to us that this should be the case, but this abundance cannot be understood as an unlimited increase in the individual availability of consumer goods, which is the only way in which capitalism allows us to understand it. Authors such as the aforementioned Sacristán have the merit of having intuited this question early, addressing Marx’s “political-ecological insights” (according to Sacristán) to rethink communism in the face of the ecological crisis.
One of Marx’s central critiques of the capitalist mode of production is found in the impoverishment that it imposes on the workforce by establishing an alienated relationship with it, as merchandise, and forcing it to put itself at the service of capital to sustain the constant wheel of accumulation. The dynamics of production for production’s sake, which aims at the maximum possible or socially tolerable extension of working time in pursuit of valorization, denies all the possibilities of developing social wealth in the broad sense stated in the quote that we reproduce. above the Grundrisse. In the same way, this dynamic devastates the wealth of nature. Breaking with this alienation, socializing the means of production, lays the foundations for a fuller development of the potential denied under capitalism.
Freedom in this field can only consist in the fact that socialized man, the associated producers, rationally regulate their metabolism with nature, placing it under their collective control, instead of being dominated by it as if by a blind power; that they carry it out with the minimum use of forces and under the most dignified and appropriate conditions for his human nature. But this always remains a realm of necessity. Beyond it begins the development of human forces, considered as an end in itself, the true realm of freedom, which however can only flourish on that realm of necessity as its foundation. The reduction of the working day is the basic condition [ 22 ] .
We believe that John Bellamy Foster is correct when he points out that:
Society, particularly in wealthy countries, must move towards a steady-state or steady-state economy, which requires a shift to an economy with no net capital formation, staying within the solar budget. Development, particularly in rich economies, must take a new form: qualitative, collective and cultural, emphasizing sustainable human development in harmony with Marx’s original vision of socialism. As Lewis Mumford argued, a stationary state, which promotes ecological ends, requires for its fulfillment the egalitarian conditions of “basic communism”, with production determined “according to need, not according to capacity or productive contribution”. Such a move away from capital accumulation and towards a system of satisfaction of collective needs based on the principle of “enough” is obviously impossible in any meaningful sense under the regime of capital accumulation. What is required, then, is an ecological and social revolution that facilitates a society of ecological sustainability and substantive equality. [ 23 ] .
This ecosocialist perspective requires more than ever to act internationally. Faced with the challenges posed by the ecological crisis, today it is clearer than ever that there are no possible transformations “in a single country”; Attacking the multiple dimensions of the ecological crisis requires global responses, which must be radically different from the usual formalisms of the summits of countries where the imperialist powers and big capital have the upper hand. The transformations in the rich imperialist countries, which have long exceeded the biophysical limits, towards “stationary” socialist societies, to say Foster and the challenges of the oppressed and semi-colonial countries, in which the fight of the working class and popular sectors to cut ties with imperialism and its local capitalist partners –partners in extractivism– is key to being able to satisfy fundamental social demands –without repeating the unsustainable ecological patterns of capitalist development but Yes, concentrating efforts on investments that cannot be postponed to raise the standard of living– they must be intertwined as never before. Only an internationalist eco-socialist revolutionary movement that defeats the capitalist class and its political agents will be able to change the “zero sum” games that today dominate the (absence of) ecological politics under the baton of the imperialist powers, that in the speeches of the summits they talk about coordination and “responsibilities” but avoid any meaningful recognition of the “ecological debt” – that is, the looting accumulated against the oppressed countries. In today’s struggles against large transnational imperialist groups that generate numerous ecological disasters throughout the planet, even though they are often the same ones that appeal to “greenwashing” in flashy advertising campaigns, we must go on forging the necessary internationalist unity of the working classes and the oppressed peoples all over the planet.